Oracle Team USA is pushing closer to one of the greatest comebacks in the history of professional sports. Down eight races to one in the America’s Cup finals, the team has gone back to a strategy it originally ditched and the results have been stunning.
Emirates Team New Zealand should have won the America’s Cup. They stormed out to an 8-1 lead in the finals, but have fallen on hard times as Oracle Team USA refuses to give up.
Coincidentally, the strategy Emirates TeamNew Zealand used to take such a massive lead is the same strategy Oracle Team USA ditched at the start of the cup. After falling so far behind Emirates Team New Zealand, Oracle Team USA re-examined the strategy and gave it a second chance.
The strategy is called foiling. To “foil” a team balances on L-shaped boards called foils, which lift the boat’s two hulls out of the water. The move reduces drag and increases speed. Oracle Team USA thought foiling would only work downwind. When they saw Emirates Team New Zealand’s success using it upwind, they realized they were wrong.
What followed in the America’s Cup finals has been nothing short of breathtaking. Oracle Team USA won five straight matches and the score now sits at 8-6. If not for a two match penalty for weighting down their yacht, the score would be 8-8.
What makes it more interesting is that America’s Cup is a first to nine tournament. For the last five races Emirates Team New Zealand has been a win away from taking home the trophy.
Now all the momentum has shifted to Oracle Team USA, and all eyes have shifted to what could be a historic comeback.
With the competition pushing into its 19th day, it is officially the longest America’s cup on record. Here’s to hoping it lasts just a little longer.
Do you think Oracle Team USA will finish their incredible comeback run?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]